Tag Archives: Brian Cox

The Set of 400: #14 – My Favorite Punctuality Pin

Today! Because I saved Latin – what did you ever do?

Rushmore (1998)

Directed by Wes Anderson (x5)

Starring: Jason Schwartzman (x6), Bill Murray (x14), Olivia Williams, Brian Cox (x8), Luke Wilson (x5), Seymour Cassel (x4), Kumar Pallana (x3), Mason Gamble, Sara Tanaka (x2), Connie Nielsen, Andrew Wilson (x4), Stephen McCole

On the high end of this list, historically, I go back and forth between my favorite Wes Anderson movie and my favorite Bill Murray movie. Anderson flip flops between Rushmore and Tenenbaums, while Murray as you may have noticed has like five films out of the last fifteen, so there is a constant rotation. But more often than not, it works out that Rushmore is the top film for both, as it is here.

As mentioned in probably all the previous four Anderson movie posts, his style would get solidified in the years immediately after Tenenbaums, even though most of the elements that would define his films were introduced there. Rushmore functions as more of the raw version of this concept – the heightened reality of his world isn’t as much on display, even though things are pretty aggressively off-kilter at Rushmore Academy. The likable asshole main characters here are probably just a smidge more likable than, say, Royal Tenenbaum or Steve Zissou or Gustave H, as at least Max Fischer and Herman Blume are driven and twisted by love, and who can’t relate to that?

Smooth use of Latin!

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The Set of 400: #118 – My Favorite Dutch Mirror Interrogation

Today! Because you’re a malfunctioning $30 million weapon. You’re a total goddamn catastrophe –

The Bourne Identity (2002)

Directed by Doug Liman

Starring Matt Damon (x6), Franka Potente (x2), Chris Cooper (x2), Brian Cox (x7), Clive Owen, Julia Stiles (x3), Walton Goggins, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gabriel Mann (x2)

That’s right, folks – all three Bourne films are on the list, and none cracked the top 100! Weird, right? First Toy Story, and now this travesty? Well, it wasn’t always this way. Without consulting past lists – I’m saving that for some unspecified time in the future of this countdown – I know at least two of the Bournes typically would crack the 100 – that was the entire size of the list in the past, you’ll remember. So what happened here? My guess is that as these movies tend to blend together for me, differentiating became harder and so they merged into this portion of the list – they all appear here between #118 and #195 – and could not push forward as a group or individually. As you’ll see when you finally get to the top 100 – starting day after Tax Day! Get your shit in order! – it’s comprised in near equal parts with gigantic films familiar to every living soul on the planet and an assortment of cult movies and/or downright disregarded household classics I’ve overcome my shame of admitting how much I enjoy them.

No matter how many times eight-year-old Joe watched it, Masters of the Universe wasn’t making the list, however

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The Set of 400: #120 – My Favorite Pandemic Outbreak

Today! Because some things aren’t meant to be changed. You need to accept that –

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Starring Andy Serkis (x4), James Franco (x3), Freida Pinto, John Lithgow (x4), Brian Cox (x6), Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, Jamie Harris

I’m not a huge fan of prequels (The Phantom Menace notwithstanding, chumps!) and I was never particularly into the ’70s Planet of the Apes movies, so I had very few expectations going into this movie. Sure, if you’ve convinced yourself you’ve gotta make a prequel to some story, you could do worse than this – how the hell the world devolved into an ape run hellscape sounds like a pretty great tale (even if it was explained somewhat in the final original films) – plus you’ve now got the technology to render realistic apes in the driver’s seat of this rebellion, not just Roddy McDowell in a rubber mask. But still, why would anyone think this would play out as anything but another cash-in on a long dead property? Tim Burton tried rebooting this nonsense only a decade early, with relatively disastrous results.

Make that “solidly disastrous”

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The Set of 400: #165 – My Favorite Claw-Licking Cat

Today! Because I used to think you were one of a kind –

X2 (2003)

Directed by Bryan Singer (x3)

Starring Hugh Jackman (x3), Patrick Stewart (x3), Halle Berry (x2), Ian McKellen (x5), Famke Janssen (x2), James Marsden (x2), Brian Cox (x5), Bruce Davison (x2), Anna Paquin (x2), Alan Cumming, Rebecca Romijn (x3), Aaron Stanford, Shawn Ashmore (x2), Kelly Hu, Katie Stuart, Kea Wong

The last X-Men movie on this list, I swear, X2 apparently might just go by X-Men 2 now! Is this something everyone was aware of? Like how the first Star Wars movie is often called A New Hope, as though that’s its name? Or that Tom Cruise movie went from being Edge of Tomorrow to the pithier, stupidier Live Die Repeat? If you couldn’t figure it out before the release, you shouldn’t just keep hammering away at possibilities forever, folks! I was an extra in a solidly mediocre Vince Vaughn/Kevin James comedy ultimately titled The Dilemma, but when it was filming they were still calling it alternately Cheaters and What They Didn’t Know. That’s the time to sort it out! And yeah, that’s shameless promotion for my movie extra career! Send gigs my way!

I don’t have a current headshot, per se, but this pretty much covers it

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The Set of 400: #184 – My Favorite Johnny Chimpo Contraband

Today! Because I can say “meow.” I can say “moo.” For $20, I’ll call the guy a chickenfucker –

Super Troopers (2001)

Directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (x2)

Starring Jay Chandrasekhar (x3), Steve Lemme (x2), Kevin Heffernan (x2), Paul Soter (x2), Erik Stolhanske (x2), Brian Cox (x4), Marisa Coughlan, Daniel von Bargen, Geoffrey Arend, Andre Vippolis, Joey Kern, Lynda Carter, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Weaver, James Grace, John Bedford Lloyd

Look, I’ve got a Best Picture winner coming up, movie after next, so give me a little leeway on how much I enjoy this stupid goddamn movie. I’m not even sure the first time I saw Super Troopers – I had a buddy I did plays with who ran this movie at parties pretty much non-stop, and I was plenty drunk at most of those parties. I also met my wife at one of those parties, so is Team Ramrod indirectly responsible for my marital bliss to this day? Hell, it might be! Thanks, Farva! And shoutout to my pal JD!

The Broken Lizard had a movie out before this – something I don’t think much of anyone saw until after they hit it big, called Puddle Cruiser, but it’s very much the same thing. Most of their movies share the same comic sensibility, but none work better than this – the Vermont highway patrol gets embroiled in a drug smuggling investigation that may or may not involve their rivals from the local police department. And there is much drunken hijinks and pranks and maple syrup chugging along the way. It’s hilarious! Shut up!

Aww, look at the young Broken Lizard!

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The Set of 400: #195 – My Favorite Alexanderplatz Exposition

Today! Because we don’t have a choice –

The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon (x3), Joan Allen (x3), Franka Potente, Brian Cox (x3), Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Marton Csokas, Gabriel Mann, Tom Gallop, Michelle Monaghan

Just so you’re prepared – this is my least favorite of the Bourne trilogy, and even this one cracked the 200. The most recent Damon outing – Jason Bourne, I want to say? – wasn’t eligible, and wasn’t anything special, and that random Jeremy Renner movie was fine, but the first three – man, those are exciting, highly interchangeable films.

Like the Mission: Impossibles, these all take place in random, similar looking foreign cities, which you get to see whip by out the windows of speeding cars. Bourne will get involved in some conspiratorial bullshit in a frowsy apartment or abandoned train station, but then it’s right back to running. The first movie is an all-out chase, as they are coming for Bourne hard, the third movie is when he finally manages to piece the whole puzzle together, leaving the middle chapter – which is a straight revenge film, albeit also chocked full of chases, and an ending that gives some closure, but obviously benefits from the existence of a third film. Second films are hard, you guys.

With the obvious exception of the Breakin‘ franchise

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The Set of 400: #278 – My Favorite Dirty Harry Inspiration

Today! Because I am not the Zodiac. And if I were, I certainly wouldn’t tell you –

Zodiac (2007)

Directed by David Fincher

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. (x3), Brian Cox (x2), John Carroll Lynch (x2), Anthony Edwards, Chloe Sevigny, Elias Koteas, Dermot Mulroney, Donal Logue (x2), Philip Baker Hall, Zach Grenier (x2), Adam Goldberg, Charles Fleischer (x2), Paul Schulze, John Getz, June Diane Raphael, Candy Clark, Jimmi Simpson, Clea DuVall

Not so much concerned with unearthing who the killer was (even though it does present a theory), Zodiac primarily follows the lives of San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith and S.F. detective Dave Toschi, and their respective obsessions with the case as it unfolds and in the subsequent years, as the trail runs maddeningly cold. It’s an expansive ’60s/’70s epic in the hands of the premiere murder mystery director of our time (Se7en, Gone Girl) – and one of the sure thing, must-run-out-and-see-whatever-he-does filmmakers – David Fincher.

And it is exhaustive. Covering the source material in great detail, and trying to encapsulate well over a decade in these characters’ lives, the movie naturally was going to be lengthy, but it manages to clip right along, even feeling a bit rushed in parts, pouring out details and recounting theories at a steady clip. But keeping the engine running solidly are the terrific performances of Gyllenhaal and Ruffalo as Graysmith and Toschi, plus a just pre-Iron Man Downey as self-destructive reporter Paul Avery. The Downey comeback was well underway by ’07 – what with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Good Night and Good Luck, and A Scanner Darkly in the preceding years – but Zodiac seemed to cement the fact that he was solidly reliable, and a little over a year later he was superheroing it up at Marvel.

’70s Banner and Stark!

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The Set of 400: #320 – My Favorite British Theodore Dreiser Tragedy

Today! Because you have to learn to push guilt under the rug and move on –

Match Point (2005)

Directed by Woody Allen

Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Matthew Goode, Brian Cox, Emily Mortimer, Penelope Wilton, Toby Kebbell, James Nesbitt, Ewan Bremner

The best of Woody’s European/Johansson cinematic excursion of the mid-to-late ’00s, Match Point was the first good movie he’d made in some time, and the first solid straight drama since at least Husbands and Wives in ’92 (and that’s still a funny-ish movie). This Hitchcockian-Dostoevskyian suspense thriller feels reinvigorated by a change of venue from the notoriously NYC-centric filmmaker – a move almost entirely due to British funding more than any desire to leave the Big Apple. The cast is first rate, and the script clips right along – something that Woody’s later comedies have a hard time achieving.

This is the only one of Woody’s pure dramas to make the list – as much as I admire Interiors and Crimes and Misdemeanors, I don’t have great affection for them. It is also one of only two of his films made after 1995 to appear here (again, I’m going to warn there is a lot of Woody Allen coming in the next year. And again, yes, I struggle with this – see #349 Broadway Danny Rose for more details), as his later work has been very hit and miss. For every good-to-great Midnight in Paris or Blue Jasmine, there have been five Anything Elses and Cafe Societys. But hey, at least he keeps making movies. And every four or five years or so, a pretty good one.

If I never see Cafe Society again it’ll be too soon

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